US, China sign trade agreement

US, China sign trade agreement

The US and China have reached a 10-point trade deal that opens the Chinese market to US credit rating agencies and credit card companies.

Under the deal, China will also lift its ban on US beef imports and accept US shipments of liquefied natural gas.

In return, Chinese cooked chicken will be allowed into the US market and Chinese banks can enter the US market.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the deal should reduce China’s trade surplus with the US by the end of 2017.

Mr Ross told CNBC that the US had agreed to treat Chinese financial institutions in the same way as other foreign banks that wanted to open up activities in the US.

“Clearly China, whose banks are among the largest in the whole world, wants access to the US banking market,” he said.

“As long as they can comply with the normal rules, they will get access.”

The deal marks the first tangible results of trade talks that began last month.

The agreement is seen as an indication that US President Donald Trump is adopting a less confrontational approach with Beijing than he promised during last year’s election campaign.

Mr Trump had threatened to label China a “currency manipulator” and impose trade tariffs on its goods, but has since softened his position.

He had also attempted to link US-China trade talks to concerns over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, urging Beijing to exert more pressure on Pyongyang.

However, after the trade deal was announced, China’s vice-minister of finance, Zhu Guangyao, said economic issues should not be politicised.

“On the connection between the North Korean nuclear issue and our economic ‘100 days’ plan’ negotiations, I can tell you frankly that our economy team focused all their efforts on economic issues,” he told journalists.

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